The 2006 World Cup football tournament got under way with host country Germany winning its opening match against Costa Rica in Munich. Millions of followers gathered in public outdoor venues around the nation to watch the game on huge video screens. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer reports from the so-called "Fan Fest" in Hamburg on the celebrations.
In the St. Pauli district here, the Fan Fest is divided into a Fan Stadium with a giant screen and a Fan Park, with temporary bleachers as well as a huge standing room area. Throughout the park spectators and party-goers can select from a wide range of food and beverages at special stands.
But football was the main focus Friday with the home team in action. And it did not take long for the Germans to get on the scoreboard, with a goal in the sixth minute. That brought loud cheers, blaring horns and German flags waving above the crowd. Six minutes later it was much quieter when Costa Rica tied the score.
But Germany went on to win the match 4-2, and for Hamburg native Arno it was a thrill to be among so many fans to watch the victory. "It's perfect. It's just, I don't know how to say it, the feelings are like, like football and goose bumps."
Arno's girlfriend, Wibke, also found the Fan Fest to be an enjoyable experience. "It was great. It was a great feeling here, to be here with other people, friends, and everybody laughs and is feeling good and making jokes, and so it's great. I hope the next games are as good as this is."
Germany will play its next World Cup match against Poland, which lost to Ecuador in the second match on the opening day, 2-0.